People Turned In $32M In Lost Cash To The Tokyo Police Last Year


There’s probably no worse feeling than realizing you lost your wallet or your purse somewhere on the street.

If that happens to you while you’re in Tokyo, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll be reunited with your money. That’s because Japanese citizens feel strong about considering the feelings of others with every action.

Last year, people turned in a record $32 million in cash to the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department. The good news doesn’t stop there: About three-quarters of that money was returned to its owner.

Getty Images | Keith Tsuji

“Japanese schools offer classes for ethics and morality, and students learn to imagine the feelings of those who lost their own goods or money,” Toshinari Nishioka, a former policeman and currently a professor at Kansai University of International Studies, told Bloomberg.

Nishioka said it’s not rare to see children giving a ¥10 coin (worth roughly $1.45) to a police officer.

Getty Images | Chris McGrath

People in Japan also worry very little about crime, particularly robberies. In Tokyo, people will even reserve their seats in a crowded coffeeshop by leaving their iPhone on the table while they order at the counter.

Beyond that, there’s a Japanese law that incentivizes good behavior when people find lost money or items. Under this rule, anyone who hands over money to the police can claim 5 to 20 percent of the amount once the owner is found. If no one steps forward to claim the money, the finder gets to keep all of it.

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Sarah Kuta

Sarah Kuta is an award-winning writer and editor based in Colorado. She writes regularly about how to find deals, save money and find side gigs. Reach her at Learn More.